Steven Brokaw Photography

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Nikon Needs A Gateway Drug

I listened to This Week In Photo podcast #363 today.  Fredrick Van Johnson, the host, and his guests had a lively discussion about DSLR's and mirrorless cameras.  They also mentioned Nikon's less than expected reported financial results.  I enjoyed the conversation.  The take-aways from the discussion for me were:

1) Nikon (and by default Canon) are not staying relevant in the fastest growing segment of the market - mirrorless cameras,

2) Once you get into a system you tend to get hooked, 

3) To remain financially healthy and relevant you need to constantly innovate and take risks (i.e. what Fujifilm, Sony, Olympus, etc. have done). 

That got me thinking about my situation with photography and what I would recommend for a company like Nikon.  As you might know from earlier posts I'm a Nikon full frame shooter.

If I was making decisions for Nikon and I was looking at consumers like me or consumers that might become like me I would develop a "gateway drug" camera.  Why, because I have tons of Nikon kit, so to a certain extent I'm stuck, but for all of my non-studio shooting I've moved away from a DSLR and into the mirrorless system (a Sony A6000 & Fujifilm X-20). 

What I think Nikon should do is introduce a line of mirrorless cameras.  One full frame and one APS-C.  However, they should be able to use the standard Nikkor DX or full frame lenses.  Either by using a standard mount or with an inexpensive adapter that talks to the lens and allows for all the lens functions to be used.  This camera would be the gateway to a DSLR or backward compatible from the DSLR.  

This would allow someone who wants to start in a mirrorless system to buy a Nikon as a start, or if you already have a bevy of Nikkor lenses (like me) you can still by a Nikon mirrorless.  Then if you wanted to move up to a DSLR you already have likely purchased Nikkor lenses and they can be used with the DSLR.    Also, if this existed in a full frame version (like Sony's line) then if someone moved away from a Nikon DSLR full frame and was looking to move to a mirrorless they could stay with Nikon.

This gateway drug camera allows Nikon to: 

1) Get into the mirrorless world without cutting out their existing or potential DSLR customers

2) Gives Nikon users who have invested in lenses an mirrorless Nikon option

3) It gives Nikon DSLR users an option if they want to stay in full frame, but want to move to mirrorless

4) Maintains the market for Nikkor lenses

5) Mirrorless market is growing so Nikon should jump in with both feet with a truely competitive product that takes advantage of their excellent lenses - a competitive advantage

The lack of this option created a situation with me that cost Nikon a sale.  I wanted to move to a smaller form factor camera for my knock-around use.  I researched the mirrorless market in detail and decided to purchase a Sony A6000.  I then purchased a Fotodiox Pro adapter for my Nikkor lenses.  I can now use my lenses with the Sony body.  If Nikon had this option I wouldn't have thought twice and would have purchased the Nikon mirrorless.  

To me this is an easy decision, but alas large, established companies doing things one way so long are hard to change.  One guys opinion.

Street Photography with the Sony A6000

Sony Alpha A6000 vs Sunny Day

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